God bless everyone that sat through this first half. Both Charlotte and UTSA lost all understanding of how to effectively play offense as penalties and interceptions drug the game through the mud and stomped it into a few puddles to start the game.
Charlotte was sorely hampered by the early loss of star running back Khalif Phillips who went down with a lower body injury in the first quarter. Given the 49ers lack of production through the air, Phillips' injury put Charlotte in an extremely difficult spot. They ended the first quarter with just 48 yards of offense with zero of those yards coming through the air.
Things weren't much better for UTSA as they moved the ball well between the twenty yard lines but showed zero ability to turn offensive yardage into points. Walk-on sophomore quarterback Dalton Sturm struggled mightily through most of the game as he gifted Charlotte the ball twice on poor throws in the first half.
Charlotte was finally able to get on the board after UTSA abandoned the flat in their zone coverage in the red zone, allowing Charlotte's tight end to waltz into the end zone to take a 7-0 lead.
Dalton Sturm was picked off for the third time on UTSA's ensuing possession after he forced a throw into double coverage. The interception put Charlotte in position to take a two-score lead but the 49ers inexplicably faked a short field goal. The kicker came up short and the 49ers would take a 7-0 lead into the locker room to end the first half.
The first half ended with UTSA totaling just 83 yards compared to 114 for Charlotte. UTSA averaged 2.6 yards per play while Charlotte managed 3.2 yards per attempt.
The Roadrunners come out on fire to start the second half. The offense needed just three plays to tie the game up, as a 15 yard run from Sturm gave way to long runs for Jarveon Williams and Jalen Rhodes.
Charlotte didn't want to be left out, as they were able to match UTSA's offensive explosion through the air to regain the lead. UTSA dropped into a soft zone which gave Brooks Barden time to find a couple of wide open receivers. The 14-7 score started to feel like a straight shoot-out given the sluggish start to the game in the first half.
Not to be outdone, UTSA would continue the offensive surge thanks to some nimble runs from Sturm and Jarveon Williams. The junior running back jumped out of the way of a defender in the backfield and sprinted 24 yards to tie the game at 14.
UTSA would go on to force a Charlotte three and out allowing Jarveon Williams to brew up some more magic. He broke off several defenders to get UTSA into scoring position where Dalton Sturm would escape the pocket to find Kerry Thomas wide open in the endzone for a score. The PAT was missed though, providing UTSA with a 20-14 lead. This proved to be a key moment in the game.
The fireworks would continue as Matt Johnson sparked a run game for Charlotte to start the drive before finding Trent Bostick deep down the field after Bostick slipped past Bennett Okotcha. Charlotte was able to convert the PAT to take a 21-20 lead.
Charlotte was able to extend their lead to 24-20 after overcoming some early penalties by targeting UTSA's cornerbacks deep. A Charlotte fumble was recovered by the 49ers to set up the field goal.
The following drive was disastrous for UTSA as their first two plays created negative yards and a botched snap forced Sturm to heave it out of the end zone to avoid a safety. Charlotte muffed the UTSA punt but was able to recover and moved forward an additional 25 yards due to some UTSA penalties. Charlotte was unable to capitalize on the great field position as their field goal sailed wide right.
UTSA was able to take a 27-24 lead on a drive where they were handed countless lucky breaks. Charlotte had the Roadrunners stopped for a three and out but the 49ers committed a bone-headed roughing the passer penalty to extend the drive. Later in the series Charlotte clearly picked off Dalton Sturm for the fourth time but the replay official declared the defender out of bounds. Sturm would take advantage of his second chance by finding Aaron Grubb on a beautiful post route in the end zone after rolling out of the pocket.
Charlotte methodically marched the ball down the field to tie the game with 1:11 remaining after Matt Johnson forced his way through the Roadrunner defense to convert two fourth downs.
UTSA would bring the game to overtime after a series of blunders in clock management. Sturm put his team in position to win by finding JaBrcye Taylor with one second left to get UTSA into field goal range. Instead of employing usualy place kicker Daniel Portillo, UTSA decided to send out Victor Falcon to attempt his first field goal attempt of his career which he pushed wide left.
The 49ers were left kicking themselves after getting to the five yard line on their first possession of overtime. Charlotte attempted a pass that was picked off by sophomore free safety Nate Gaines in the end zone. UTSA opted to simply grind their over time possession out by running each snap down the middle of the field.
Jarveon Williams got UTSA all the way to the four and Daniel Portillo would chip in the short field goal to give UTSA their second win of the season with a 30-27 final score. It was an ugly win that brings a dose of embarrassment along with it. At this point it's hard for UTSA to ask for anything more than a W any way they can get it.
Charlotte will travel to Kentucky next week while UTSA hosts a reeling Rice program. The Roadrunners will seek to earn their first home win of the season and break a three year losing streak to the Owls.